Third Amherst Live show will address racial tensions

Last modified: Wednesday, September 10, 2014

AMHERST — Magazine writer Oliver Broudy liked the idea of a “secular alternative to church,” or a space for members of a community to come together and discuss matters of importance, but without having to refer back to a single text.

This was among the concepts behind “Amherst Live,” a magazine-style show starring local residents that will be held for the third time at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Bowker Auditorium at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The show will be taped for broadcast later by radio station WHMP in Northampton and online at

The show was created last year by Broudy and Internet entrepreneur Baer Tierkel. The first show in fall 2013 was held in the Eric Carle Museum on the Hampshire College grounds. The second was during the winter in the Kirby Theater at Amherst College. Video of those shows is available on the website at

The race-related tensions in Amherst during the past year became a driving factor in producing this next show, Broudy said.

“I knew I had to find some way to address that,” said Broudy, who moved to Amherst from New York City in 2011.

Saturday’s show will feature a talk by newly elected Amherst Regional School Committee Chairman Trevor Baptiste describing what he learned about power and community growing up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. Baptiste, of Pelham, was elected chairman of the committee Aug. 14.

Another talk will be given by Lisa Amato, of Amherst, who works as a social worker in Holyoke and will speak about the challenges of working with gang members and ex-felons, according to Broudy.

“I knew I wanted to get someone who had a more different perspective than the typical white Amherst liberal,” Broudy said about the choice of speakers. “I also wanted to get someone who could sort of address that white liberalism.”

The show will also include interviews with Massachusetts Teachers Association President Barbara Madeloni of Northampton, a representative of the Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee and Alan M. Richmond, a senior lecturer in herpetology — or the study of amphibians and reptiles — at UMass.

Doors open at 7 p.m. Following the show there will be a catered after-party in the UMass Student Union Ballroom.

Tickets are available online at and cost $12 for general admission and $7 for students. Tickets at the door will cost $15.

People who want to donate to Amherst Live, which is a 501(c)3 organization, may request premium tickets for $50, which as well as VIP seating, include a free subscription to Amherst College’s literary magazine “The Common,” an invitation to the pre-show production party, a mention in the show’s program, and a free brownie, said Broudy.

Gena Mangiaratti can be reached at


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